Tragedy, Adversity and Service to Others

William was born in Barrow in Furness in 1893. In 1895 following the death of three siblings (all with 3 weeks of each other) his parents returned to the Birmingham area.

William married twice.

In April 1908 he married Kathleen Groves and later that year their first child, Ken was born.
In February 1911, when they were living at the Royal Oak in Alcester they had a daughter Hetty Kathleen Groves but she died three days later. This must have been a terrible time for William as he will have been aware that three of his siblings had died in infancy.

In April 1912 Norman (my father) was born. At that time William was a Beer House Keeper in Hunters Road, Aston, Birmingham.

Shortly before Norman’s third birthday his father (aged 33) enlisted into the 1st City Battalion, the Birmingham Pals. He remained in the Royal Warwickshire regiment until the end of the War.

On being demobbed the family moved to Manchester where Norman secured employment working for Burton’s Ales.

During the period 1920-1926 was recorded on the Electoral Register still living in Manchester.

In 1936 his wife Kathleen, who had been suffering from chronic TB, died.

In May 1838 William married Edith Whitworth.

In 1926 Ken joined the Royal Navy and later became a submariner. In June 1932 Norman enlisted in Royal Artillery. Both continued to serve their Country throughout WW2.
During the war William would have realised that both of his son’s occupied extremely vulnerable positions. Although both survived this must have taken its toll upon William especially as Norman has been captured by the Japanese and was in Osaka Concentration Camp for in excess of four years.

On being demobbed the family moved to Manchester where William secured employment working for Burton’s Ales initially as a Beer House Keeper and later as Brewer’s Agent.

On the 25th November 1958 William died after a long illness, aged 75.

As result of his war record William was awarded …

  • Victory Medal
  • British Campaign Medal
  • Star

For reasons which are not clear these medals did not remain within the family. However following recourse to this website a respected medal dealer contacted the site to say that he had the medals which had had mounted in a frame which contained a description stating …

1914-18. 133 Pte W. B Whitmore, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.The medals were purchased by the family and remounted in a different frame together with some other Birmingham Pals artefacts which had come into the families possession.